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After shaky start, CovCath football team rolls to season-opening win in newly renovated stadium

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By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Dedication ceremonies for Covington Catholic’s newly renovated stadium on Friday created a party-like atmosphere before the football team’s season-opening game against Ryle.

CovCath senior A.J. Mayer (No. 7) picks up yardage on a quarterback keeper in Friday’s season-opening home game against Ryle (Photo by Steve Dyer).

When the visiting team scored on the first play from scrimmage, it took some of the buzz out of the celebration. A few minutes later, the CovCath fans were stunned after their team had a touchdown called back on a penalty and ended up turning the ball over on downs.

But the CovCath players got their act together and rolled to a 49-17 victory to send their fans home happy and get the program’s 50th anniversary season off to a good start.

“We knew this (game) was going to be a big deal for our school and for our football program as well,” said CovCath coach Eddie Eviston. “At the same time, we had a lot of guys playing their first varsity game and the butterflies had to leave their stomachs a little bit. Once they did, they all played really well.”

Ryle had won the previous three games against CovCath and it looked like the Raiders would continue that streak the way Friday’s rematch started off.

On the first play from scrimmage, Ryle senior running back Jake Chisholm went in motion, caught a short pass near the sideline and rambled 75 yards for a touchdown. CovCath then turned the ball over on downs to end its first offensive possession.

From that point on, however, the Colonels dominated play on both sides of the ball and opened up a 42-7 halftime lead. The defense held Ryle to 71 total yards on its last eight possessions with the help of two pass interceptions. The offense ran off 42 straight points behind the play of senior quarterback A.J. Mayer, who threw three touchdown passes and scored twice on runs.

At the halftime break, CovCath had a 276-146 advantage in total offensive yards. Mayer was responsible for most of that, completing 9 of 15 passes for 181 yards and rushing for 18 yards on three carries. The veteran quarterback gave CovCath’s new offensive line credit for the team’s point production in the first half.

“At first, like three weeks ago, we were a little worried about the offensive line,” Mayer said. “But they came back and practiced and started getting their jobs done. It was great seeing the way they got everything done (Friday). They were impressive to watch.”

Five of the six CovCath scoring drives in the first half started in Ryle territory. On three of them, Mayer threw a touchdown pass on the very first play. One of the TD passes was a 4-yard strike to his younger brother Michael, a sophomore wide receiver.

“That was awesome,” A.J. Mayer said. “We’ve been waiting for that a really long time. It was a little bit of a play call. I might have been cheating a little bit just so I could throw to him, but it worked out.”

CovCath’s quarterback left the game with 3:36 left in the third quarter after getting knocked down behind the line of scrimmage. He went to a medical tent on the sideline and came out with his right knee taped.

“It’s just a little strain in my knee, but I should be good to go,” he said.

Mayer ended up completing 14 of 23 passes for 267 yards and no interceptions. His other two touchdown passes were a 48-yarder to senior Alex Christmann and a 20-yarder to junior Jack Coldiron. The Colonels had 131 yards rushing with junior Casey McGinness picking up 60 on 12 carries.

Ryle got most of its 288 total yards on two scoring plays — Chisholm’s 75-yard pass reception in the first quarter and sophomore running back Kyle England’s 84-yard run in the third quarter. Junior quarterback Jake Smith completed 9 of 15 passes for 100 yards and threw two interceptions in his first game as a starter. He was replaced by senior Easton Pilyer, who was 1-for-6 for minus-3 yards.

“Our kids came out and executed everything we’ve been concentrating on all week,” coach Eviston said. “Obviously, it was the first game and we have some kinks we have to iron out, but overall I’m pretty happy with our performance.”

RYLE               7   0  7  3  — 17
COVCATH    14  28  7  0  — 49

R — Chisholm 75 pass form Smith (Moligue kick)
CC – A. J. Mayer 17 run (Gronotte kick)
CC – Christmann 48 pass form A. J. Mayer (Gronotte kick)
CC – A. J. Mayer 1 run (Gronotte kick)
CC – M. Mayer 4 pass from A.J. Mayer (Gronotte kick)
CC – McGinness 4 run (Gronotte kick)
CC – Coldiron 20 pass from A. J. Mayer (Gronotte kick)
CC – Shriver 37 run (Gronotte kick)
R — England 84 run (Molique kick)
R — Molique 27 FG
RECORDS: CovCath 1-0, Ryle 0-1.

 

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One Comment

  1. Dick Maiel says:

    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for a very nice article. I mainly want to ask if you can publicize the Kenney Shields book signing at BC on August 26th. Joe Brennan asked me to make sure the CCH family knows about it. You were the first one I thought of to get the word out. Thanks for all do for sports and for my family as well. Dick

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